ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, the Oakland Raiders withdrew their request to relocate to Los Angeles before the owners' vote was taken Tuesday night in Houston and will presumably play the 2016 season in Oakland.
They had been hoping to share a $1.7 billion stadium in the L.A. suburb of Carson with the San Diego Chargers, but the owners voted to support the St. Louis Rams’ bid to build their own $1.86 billion stadium and complex in Inglewood, and the Chargers have a one-year option to join them in Inglewood.
"We came in third," Raiders owner Mark Davis said.
What’s next for the Raiders, who were in L.A. from 1982 to 1994 before returning to Oakland in 1995?
For one, this decision does not necessarily mean the Raiders are in Oakland to stay. The team’s stance that Oakland is a non-viable market at the moment does not change, not unless the city reverses its position and allows public funds to go toward a new stadium and/or gives more “free” land around the coliseum to the Raiders. And what about Major League Baseball’s Athletics? The A’s don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
"This announcement by the NFL regarding the Raiders does not change our immediate plans or our goal of securing a new baseball-only facility," A's owner Lew Wolff said in a statement.
Also, as ESPN.com reported from the meetings, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the Raiders would get $100 million from the league to apply toward a new stadium if they stay in their home market. But that seems a relative pittance for the Raiders.
"I don’t believe that’s going to fill the gap we have right now," Davis said, referencing the lack of public funds from the city of Oakland to help build a stadium for the Raiders.
Then, there's this: The Chargers have up to a year to move to Los Angeles, and if the Chargers decline that option, the Raiders would have a year after the Chargers’ decision to join the Rams in Hollywood Park. Ironically enough, that is where the late Al Davis wanted to build a stadium in 1994 before, as he said, the NFL wanted him to take in a second team. Angered, Davis pulled up stakes and returned to Oakland.
Mark Davis obviously did not seem thrilled with the developments and did not commit to where his team would be playing this coming season.
"I don’t know where we’ll be," he said, dismissing the notion of St. Louis. "We don’t have a lease right now at the Oakland Coliseum.
"America, the world is a possibility for the Raider Nation."
Said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: "Mark has been very consistent [that] he preferred to stay in Oakland, to get a stadium that is suitable for the long term so the Raider Nation can have the kind of facility they deserve. I think he'll continue to work on that. But those decisions will be made by Mark."
Yes, it makes sense for the Raiders to re-up for at least one more season in the Coliseum, but that does not mean they’ll be happy to do it. Where else in the Bay Area could the Raiders play?
If the Raiders can’t build a stadium for themselves, what’s another option?
The NFL would love it if the Raiders shared Levi’s Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers, but that’s a tenant situation. Nothing about the Santa Clara stadium says silver and black. Davis wants nothing to do with it.
San Antonio will beckon, as might Portland, Oregon, and while many might say St. Louis or San Diego could work, the NFL has declared those two cities not viable for an NFL team.
So unless or until the Raiders break ground on an Oakland stadium, or somewhere nearby like Concord, Dublin or Vallejo, all rumored East Bay sites, nothing about staying in Oakland is settled.
What should fans hungry for tickets do?
Hurry up and wait. Again. Because as soon as the Raiders do find a home for the 2016 season, the marketing and ticketing departments will go into hyperdrive to promote a team that more than doubled its win output last season, going from 3-13 to 7-9, and is seemingly on the rise.